Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jobs for Main Street Act - ask US Senators to include funding for hiring librarians

The American Library Association has requested its state chapters, such as NYLA, to mobilize library advocates in the states to contact their US Senators regarding the Jobs for Main Street Act.

The current draft of the Senate's $80 billion version of the Jobs for Main Street Act does not include librarians. However, the bill does include $18 billion for hiring and retaining teachers. Please call both of your Senators and ask them to write a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), requesting that the hiring and retaining of librarians be included in the $18 billion as well.

This bill could come up at any moment and it is critically important that you contact your Senators immediately and tell them to send this letter. Also, tell them what your library is doing to help people find jobs. We cannot let this legislation pass without the inclusion of libraries, and we have no chance of getting libraries into this legislation without your calls!!

Please call the US Senate switchboard today at 202.224.3121.


1. Libraries play a key role in getting America back to work again.Nationwide, the library is the only source of no-fee Internet access for 71 percent of Americans. With more and more job applications only being accepted online, the public library is becoming the center of most American’s job searches.

2. State Library Agencies reported in November 2009 that 77 percent of states cut funds that support local public libraries, which has meant layoffs, staff furloughs, and forced retirements. This has caused a 75 percent cut in services to the public including canceled statewide databases used for job searching, homework help, and cuts in 24/7 reference, which are used by small businesses and students.

3. Our proposal for saving libraries and helping America get back to work would be to provide a one-time $650 million to be distributed on a need basis through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

4. This proposal would create up to 13,000 library jobs in a few short months meaning this is a shovel-ready project.

5. The money would be used for library jobs that are focused on assisting patrons with getting back to work – thereby having the impact of assisting literally millions of Americans find employment. None of these funds would be used for facilities or equipment.

6. These funds would be distributed in a clear, concise, affirmative manner. Funds would be distributed to states using a formula through IMLS based 50 percent on population, and 50 percent on relative unemployment (similar to the Department of Labor’s Dislocated Worker Program).

7. The Chief State Library Officer in each state would be responsible for distributing funds to local public libraries based on their local needs.

8. A minimum amount of funding per library could offer one library staff job per building based upon need and a maximum of five full-time staff.

9. Funds would be limited to hiring back staff released due to budget cuts, recruiting new staff and/or expanding staff services around job searching and employment skills training.

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